John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Discussion of various public figures

John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Caleb » 08 Dec 2011, 11:45

I got myself in a bit of trouble today discussing John Lennon with some people today. They were waxing poetic about the man on the anniversary of his murder.

Perhaps this was a little insensitive of me, but firstly, I argued that I don't think he's actually that iconic. He's not iconic out of the West, and I'd also say he's actually not iconic outside of about two generations (people born from 1945-1975). People older than the Baby Boomers probably regard him with bemusement, if they know who he was. People younger than their mid or early thirties probably don't necessarily know who he was.

It is my contention that the Baby Boomers largely believe that pop-culture, and by extension, culture generally, began with their generation and will end with their generation. They have spent the past forty years ramming this down everyone's throat. Of course, Generation X have been the recipient of this, hence why almost everyone of that generation knows who he was. To be fair, I do like a fair amount of music from that period (though I also think a lot of it, especially the Beatles, is massively overrated and won't stand the test of time). In my experiences, young people now generally don't know who he was, and this is going to be increasingly the case as the Baby Boomers hand over the reins of power to the next generation.

Anyway, as if that didn't fire people up (and really, you'd think I was talking about their brother who got killed), what I said next really fired them up.

Frankly, what I do think John Lennon represents is some sort of meme that the Baby Boomers are trying to pass on about them selflessly striving to make the world a better place, when they haven't. Yet many of my generation have bought into it, as evidenced by the hostile reaction of my peers when I pointed out that the Baby Boomers are the ultimate Me Generation. My generation will almost certainly make its own mistakes once it takes over, but they'll be hard pressed to perform as poorly as my parents' generation. On their watch, we've seen the debasement of pretty much every civil institution there is, and of society generally. Furthermore, our generation and every generation for the forseeable future is going to be saddled with massive public debt in funding, both now and later, the state benefits that Baby Boomers demand as their right and that they have demanded for every undesirable group in society.

In short, the Baby Boomers and their counter-culture of the 1960s have represented the very embodiment of the progressive agenda of nihilism and hedonism dressed up as some sort of altruistic crusade that so afflicts us now.

Furthermore, the idea that John Lennon represents the very best that generation has to offer is evidence of their complete obsession with vacuous celebrity (tautology, I know). Have they produced no great statesmen, scientists or thinkers? Perhaps I am being unfair. In that case, I shall leave you to ponder this insight into the human condition of Dostoyevskian proportions:

I am the egg man
Oh, they are the egg men
Oh, I am the walrus
Goo goo g'joob
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Rachel » 09 Dec 2011, 15:35

I once read conspiracy theory on the lyrics of "Imagine" being a blueprint for the "New World Order" with the communist line of "Imagine no possessions" and the no religion theme in it with one world government. I think the conspiracy theory is nonsense of course.

I've just found the lyrics online and if you look at them they are a bit silly with Lennon as the rich millionaire talking about no possessions.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace...


It is a bit anti nationalistic and anti religion isn't it?

Yes you're right, John Lennon is definitely getting a lot less popular and is a bit of a poster boy for the baby boomer generation.
But...he only got super famous and idealised because he died early. I am sure if he had lived longer like Paul McCartney now he wouldn't be worshipped as much. It's the same with James Dean and Amy Winehouse. Sadly popular culture seems to glorify death too much.

I'm no better at being caught out by this. I started liking Elvis's music when I was a child in 1987 during the 10th anniversary to his death. There was a TV season of his films and music during the aniversary. I remember watching it and he looked so nice and young with a good voice so I bought my first album of his.
I still enjoy the odd ballad of his now, though I'm not exactly a mad fan. But..if he had lived to be an old man in 1987 I don't think it's likely he would have appealed to me as an 11/12 year old and got me into listening to his music.
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Mike » 10 Dec 2011, 02:04

I don't think it was just Lennon's early death that made him such a poster child for that generation; it was that, after about 1966, he played on every meme (to use that clumsy term) that motivated them. My own little theory is that he did this, probably subconsciously, partly to distract attention from the fact that by that stage McCartney was surpassing him as a songwriter. If you compare their respective output within the Beatles post-1966, McCartney was way out in front.

He (Lennon) did write some great songs in his time, but he was also one of the first great posers of the boomer left...with many, many more to follow.
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Elliott » 17 Jan 2012, 20:35

Caleb, I think your first post is excellent and I agree with everything in it, except that I don't think John Lennon is "forgotten". Perhaps abroad he is not so revered but here in Britain, he is still very much a national treasure - even if people are increasingly aware of his hypocrisy and of the unworkability of his "ideas" (actually that he didn't really have ideas, just fluffy sentiments).

It's hilarious that Lennon was singing about a world with no possessions, when he was living in a mansion and being driven around in a chauffeured limousine. The hypocrisy is astounding. I really don't think that a pop star would get away with that nowadays.

I pointed out this hypocrisy to a baby boomer recently, and she said, "Oh! John Lennon thought everyone should be driven around in a chauffeured limousine!" She was being serious. Leaving aside the materialism that unquestioningly accepts the desirability of being driven around in a limousine by a chauffeur (especially amusing since the woman is, or was, a Communist), her statement ignored the obvious question: in a world where everyone has a chauffeur, who is the chauffeur? A robot, perhaps? Still, details like this can't get in the way of a good dream.

There's also the tale of Lennon moaning that a business venture he'd embarked on wasn't making much money. His friend teased him: "imagine no possessions..." and Lennon apparently snapped: "It's only a f***ing song". Yet his followers have invested so much in that song...

It's rather like the hypocrisy of Al Gore with his jetset lifestyle...

NumberWatch wrote:It is in the nature of the faithful that they turn a blind eye to the defects of their demagogues.


Turning to the baby boomers in general, I think they are a generation deserving of study. They seem to be a unique generation: unique in their determination to divorce from history, to draw a line between "the past" and "our time".

First, some caveats. It is under the baby boomers' watch that we have come to understand that things we presently regard as trivial may one day be precious, so we should look after them.

For example, it was not the baby boomers but their predecessors who demolished Victorian buildings up and down Britain and replaced them with concrete blocks. This would never happen today, under the BB's watch. In fact, huge amounts of money are spent to ensure that old buildings stay standing.

Similarly, it was not the baby boomers but their predecessors who routinely junked TV and radio programmes in the 60s and 70s. Today that is viewed as cultural vandalism and would never be allowed.

In fact one of the products of the baby boomers' time in charge is that we voraciously collect data which, before, would simply have been discarded. It's unclear how much this is because of the baby boomers, or simply because technology has made it possible to store and index vast amounts of data. Whatever it is, we seem compelled to record everything nowadays.

Even the way we watch TV shows has become more respectful under the baby boomers. Before their time, TV shows would be put out on video as episodes hacked together to make a 90-minute film. In the age of the baby boomers, we have the DVD box set in which everything is intact. I know this is trivial but I think it demonstrates a respect of sorts for the past.

I'm also of the understanding that our attitude to history and archaeology has become much more precise and careful in recent decades, under the baby boomers. But I am a layman on this. I am only observing what experts say on In Our Time - "we used to believe X about the Greeks but it's now clear that Y was the truth".

However, these caveats aside, it seems to me that the baby boomers have an attitude to history that is almost cavalier. Perhaps the two can be combined: they are cavalier about it because, having recorded it voraciously, they feel they own it and can do whatever they like with it. My own father sometimes shows an appalling disregard for history; when this building in our town, built in 1759, was severely damaged by a fire, he said he hoped they demolished it because "it's ugly". Apparently being 250 years old isn't enough to make something important. I emphasised to him that the building had survived everything for the last 250 years - the wars, the changing culture, the town transforming around it, etc. - but he just repeated "it's ugly". I found this rather saddening.

I think a good indication of the baby boomers' attitude to history is what's happened to TV drama since they got into positions of power. Look at this 13th century English monk, for example. Or Guinevere, the White Lady in the BBC's new version of Merlin. Or this rendition of life at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, supposedly in the late 16th century yet almost everything feels contemporary, and in those ways in which it differs, Shakespeare is (of course) in awe of our time with its liberal attitudes.

I think that from the baby boomers' point-of-view, the future they could offer seemed much brighter than the past they had been given. They had ideas of rock 'n' roll, equal rights, anti-apartheid, anti-aggression, anti-colonialism, pro-cooperation, pro-environment, pro-diversity, pro-rebellion, pro-change, pro-youth, pro-minority, pro-gay, pro-welfare... and these ideas seemed much more interesting and colourful to them than the staid past of their predecessors - loveless marriages, boring church services, etc.

They were born at an opportune and very distinctive time. A massive war had just been won but at great cost, both financial and psychological. An empire was crumbling (as, simultaneously, the idea of having an empire was rapidly becoming frowned upon). The welfare state had just been "fortified" by the NHS etc. laying the ground for the impression that the state was powerful enough to do anything. Auschwitz was lingering in the collective conscience as the epitome of evil, the inevitable result of prejudice, and a generally-accepted sign that Europe's time at the forefront was over. In the baby boomers' childhood, "the American way" was heralded for its "equal opportunities" stance, then disgraced by its Vietnam adventure. This meant that "the American way" rubbished "the British way" (of class, colonialism and Christianity) then was swiftly rubbished itself. The result: a cultural free-for-all, in which the only way to be "good" was to be the underdog, the rebel, the minority, the open-minded guy who had no ideas of superiority. From there, moral and cultural relativism.

In short: the baby boomers were born as empire and class were declining and a massive war had disrupted the whole world, and they took as their raison d'etre the repudiation of those things. This necessitated the belittling of all history, since so much of Western history was driven by empire, war, class, elitism and religion. In some sense, the future could have no connection to the past. The guitar, comic book and iPod would gracefully replace the piano, novel and gramophone.

Of course, progress is always possible, but when it sticks, it seems to be because it builds on the past. This is something the baby boomers don't seem happy about. Their response has been to simply ignore history, and even to change the populations of their own countries such that Western history is increasingly alien and irrelevant to the generations who will inherit it. In seeking to reassure themselves about their flight into an unknown (but pre-ratified) future, the baby boomers have seen fit to drastically alter their own populations so as to minimise links with the past.

In a similar move, the "classical education" which nurtured their ancestors has been replaced with... well, I don't know what to call it. It's like a placeholder education. It provides you with numbers, language and facts, but makes no attempt to imprint culture or identity onto you. You are supposed to choose your own identity, so the slate must be as blank as possible. The biggest enemy to this is history, especially the history of your own nation, and especially those bits of that history which don't reinforce the baby boomers' ideas.

A good demonstration of all of these things is in the following story...

A few weeks ago I was speaking to a 16 year-old girl who is at my old high school. She told me she was doing Higher (A-Level) History. I asked which period her class were being taught.

"British history from 1850 to 1950."

I said, "Ah, the Empire?"

"No," she replied, "the liberal reforms."

By this she meant the Reform Act 1867, women's suffrage, the Elementary Education Act of 1880, and the liberal welfare reforms.

As I said, this girl is at the same school I went to. I have probably said before but I think it can't be repeated often enough: during the 13 years I was at school, I can't remember the Empire being mentioned, not even once. I have spoken to former classmates, and other kids who are at the same school now, and they all concur. The total absence of the Empire in our education, especially when they are "teaching" the period at which it was at its height (1850-1950), cannot possibly be accidental.

Now, it's fair enough that today's teenagers learn about the liberal reforms, but they are only a small part of that period of British history. And they happened because of everything else that was going on. Studied outside of their context, they appear to show liberalism spontaneously appearing as an inevitable result of "progress". This gives the impression that liberalism and welfare are possible in any situation where the people believe in "progress", which is just nonsense.

Furthermore, by pretending that the liberal reforms are all that Britain "did" between 1850 and 1950, we give teenagers the impression that Britain's past was merely a preparation for the liberal Britain they know today. Everything else is, presumably, not very important. I think this is what the baby boomers would like to believe: that everything else led up to them, and yet, their arrival constituted a sharp break from everything before.

That's what teenagers are being educated to believe.

As for baby boomers themselves, whenever I mention the word "empire" to any of them, they immediately leap to "the slave trade!". As far as they're concerned, Britain's past was just one big atrocity until they came along. It's the same in America, I think; the rock'n' roll ethos is one of ignoring and belittling tradition.

Our future depends on how much the baby boomers have influenced their successors, and how much those successors can "undo" the damage done. Whereas my parents' generation were almost sworn enemies of the past, my generation simply don't know anything about it (since we have purposely not been taught about it).

However, what this means is that as we see with a less biased perspective what other cultures are like (by way of them flooding into our country), we slowly realise that the heritage we've been denied is actually, on the whole, an excellent one. My generation are liberal, but it is of an automatic kind, not a deliberated kind; our identity doesn't hinge on destroying history in the way the baby boomers' did.

I think that is what the West in the 21st century may be characterised by: generations gradually reclaiming an identity that the baby boomers tried to destroy by way of anti-elitism, moral relativism and mass immigration.

But that work of healing can't begin until the baby boomer generation are out of power, which can't come soon enough.
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Caleb » 28 Jan 2012, 11:04

Elliott: Maybe you're right about how well known John Lennon is. I think he's certainly known by young people from the (upper) middle class. However, in my experiences in schools in both England and Australia, I'm not so sure he's really known to those in the under class. I'm not sure most of those guys would even know who people like Grandmaster Flash or Sid Vicious are/were. Anyway, I'm willing to concede the point that John Lennon is better known than what I originally wrote.

I'm not sure what else to write in response to you. It might not be a particularly interesting discussion if I just write that I agree entirely with you! You made some really excellent points.

I think you make an excellent point about how the Baby Boomers have been really keen to preserve old things and collect data. That's a perspective I had not considered before.

That said, I have mixed feelings about modern "culture". Some art forms I think are equally atrocious as those produced before the Baby Boomers took over. Most fine art I can't stand at all, but then, I have a low regard for 20th century art generally. It's the same for me with architecture. Things are not great now, but they're better, perhaps because it's probably impossible to go lower than 1960s architecture (so I'm not sure whether I should actually credit the Baby Boomers in this regard). I don't really know enough about stage productions or contemporary literature to comment on those. In music, there's tons of rubbish, but there's also some really amazing stuff. For me, perhaps the only art form I think has really improved under the Baby Boomers' watch is cinema. Of course, there's been all sorts of rubbish, but there's also been some stuff that's simply sublime. For me, a lot of the older "classics" really aren't great. I'm not sure what to think of television. There's lots of really atrocious stuff, but for me, the good stuff is leagues in front of that from earlier decades, which probably runs parallel to cinema, but lags by one or two decades perhaps because there was more money in cinema. Perhaps others will disagree strongly with me, but whenever I watch anything from the 80s or before (for movies, it's the 60s), it's almost embarrassingly amateurish in terms of writing, acting (or perhaps people were actually incredibly wooden back then!) and production values.

Your tale of the girl from your old school and the state of history (education) is shocking, though not really surprising. I am undergoing a process at the moment of trying to educate myself because I feel that my education was so deficient, despite attending a private school (which still used the state curriculum). It's a very difficult process and in this way, I'm not so optimistic the West will entirely recover or reclaim its heritage. It's going to be very interesting to see how things play out over the next few decades, especially since I'll almost certainly be an outsider (being an expat).
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Elliott » 29 Jan 2012, 01:43

Caleb, thanks for your reply.

Elliott: Maybe you're right about how well known John Lennon is. I think he's certainly known by young people from the (upper) middle class. However, in my experiences in schools in both England and Australia, I'm not so sure he's really known to those in the under class. I'm not sure most of those guys would even know who people like Grandmaster Flash or Sid Vicious are/were. Anyway, I'm willing to concede the point that John Lennon is better known than what I originally wrote.

For all I know, you could be right. I have little personal experience of the British underclass. I had cause last year to spend a few days in the company of a dozen unemployed guys in their teens and early 20s, and their general knowledge was appalling. It wouldn't surprise me if they knew the name "John Lennon", but not who he was.

I have to confess that I am not sure who Grandmaster Flash was, even though I have a few mp3s of his songs. (That seems significant!)

I think you make an excellent point about how the Baby Boomers have been really keen to preserve old things and collect data.

Thank you. I believe we should be precise about this. It is pretty nuanced. While they are keen to collect data, they can be very arbitrary about which old things to preserve. I come back to my father, unable to see the value in a 250 year-old building. To him it was just an object, which, being "ugly", could not have any value - TD has commented on this phenomenon of history being discarded if it lacks aesthetic appeal.

Generally speaking, the baby boomers are assiduous in preserving things their generation has created or coveted. This explains their precious attitude to popular culture (TV shows, film, DVD), and why media products are expensively remastered and "reduxed". Pop culture is the only culture the baby boomers really know, so they have to look after it, even if it is trivial. I think my generation feel this even more keenly, which explains why Youtube is full of clips of cartoons from the 80s. That VHS you endlessly rewound as a 5 year-old is now available constantly, wherever you may wander. This also explains why there is a growing tendency not to remake 30 year-old things, but to continue them with new instalments that do not obliterate the original.

One comment I heard about the baby boomers is that they "just have to own it" - meaning (I think) that they will look after anything as long as it's theirs, or fits into their view of life. If they don't or can't own something, they become either contemptuous of it (Western history pre-1950) or slavishly enthralled to it (everything non-Western). They lack a cultural anchoring which previous generations took for granted, and consequently they behave like orphaned children, frantically laying claim to trivial things and despising things which point to their own genesis, and are fascinated by the Other because it is free of that genesis.

Your tale of the girl from your old school and the state of history (education) is shocking, though not really surprising.
I agree, it is shocking, and it's infuriating for me. My school is a state school, but considered one of the best in Scotland. Yet when I look back, the only British history I was taught was the Peterloo Massacre (the rich hurt the poor), the Highland Clearances (the rich hurt the poor) and the liberal reforms (the liberals help the poor). That girl is receiving, 12 years later, the same education I received.

Based on that education, you'd think that Britain's history comprised the rich exploiting the poor for a very long time, until liberalism saved the day. You would never think, for example, that Britain had been a world power - let alone the world power, and within living memory.

I think it's worth emphasising the trajectory. In 1940, Britain had the biggest empire the world had ever known. Less than 50 years later, a child beginning education in a British school would never hear that empire mentioned. That is an astonishing change in its speed and thoroughness. And I put it down to the baby boomers' determination to bury the past they disapprove of. Cultural Marxists, if they exist in any real form, only facilitate what the baby boomers want to do anyway.

I am undergoing a process at the moment of trying to educate myself because I feel that my education was so deficient, despite attending a private school (which still used the state curriculum). It's a very difficult process and in this way, I'm not so optimistic the West will entirely recover or reclaim its heritage.
I agree that it is difficult to learn after a certain age, partly because there are other demands on one's time, partly because there simply isn't the external pressure on you to learn, and partly because, perhaps, the brain can't absorb volumes like it can in the teenage years. I am unsure about the reason, but whatever it is I echo your feeling that there's a whole load of stuff we should have been taught at school but weren't.

As to whether the West can reclaim its heritage, this depends on all manner of things. I believe that the biggest block to it will be that the heritage will be literally alien to a huge number of people in the 21st century West. Simply put, when Mozart was composing or Brunel was designing or Dickens was writing, their ancestors were elsewhere. It is not their heritage, except in a contractual sense. That may put me into racist territory but I think it is an obvious consequence of mass immigration. What connection can these children have to British figures even as recent as Churchill?

I think this is going to be - already is - a very real problem. It's like a bunch of guys in a room trying to talk about "the good old days", when half of their number only arrived yesterday: the conversation becomes meaningless, and offensive to the newcomers because it inherently excludes them. The solution will be auto-ghettoisation, or white flight, because it is the only way we can have our heritage un-self-consciously.

It's an excruciating situation which should never have come about, but the baby boomers insisted on it.

It's going to be very interesting to see how things play out over the next few decades, especially since I'll almost certainly be an outsider (being an expat).
Well, I'll either be here in Britain or (perhaps) moving to America. Of course it'll be interesting to see how this century progresses, from an intellectual/sociological perspective, but I think it will be unpleasant in other ways. I predict civil war, as a direct result of what the baby boomers have done. But perhaps we shouldn't blame them; they played the hand they were dealt.

PS. Your comments on the evolution of TV and cinema seem to invite a new thread, so I haven't replied to them here. Suffice it to say I think you're right in a sense, even though my favourite TV shows are all from the 1970s.
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Caleb » 29 Jan 2012, 16:30

Elliott: My experiences with the British (and Australian) underclass in the education system weren't particularly inspiring. My point about Grandmaster Flash is that he's one of the founders of rap -- a musical genre the underclass of all ethnic backgrounds seem to have fully embraced -- yet the average rap fan wouldn't have the foggiest notion of who he is, so I'm dubious that they'd know anyone from another genre.

I think your analysis of the Baby Boomers' relationship with pop-culture is right on the money.

I think Britain's decline in the past century cannot be underestimated, and the cultural hangover has been, and is, massive. I don't think any other country in the Western world even comes close. Russia is probably on a par, but for different reasons, and it's not really Western.

You're right that it's going to be increasingly difficult to reclaim Britain's, or indeed a lot of Europe's, heritage simply because, as you mentioned, so many people don't have any real connection with it. That said, I think countries such as Canada and Australia, but especially America, have managed this process much better.
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Rachel » 29 Jan 2012, 16:49

Elliott wrote:
...I think it's worth emphasising the trajectory. In 1940, Britain had the biggest empire the world had ever known. Less than 50 years later, a child beginning education in a British school would never hear that empire mentioned. That is an astonishing change in its speed and thoroughness. And I put it down to the baby boomers' determination to bury the past they disapprove of....


I remember in Junior school during the 1980's my teachers were quite old and were teaching since 1970 at least. When they taught us about the 2nd World War they would say "In 1940 Britain was a small island facing the whole of Nazi Europe."

I went home and told my Mum what we were doing about the 2nd World War. My Mum pointed ou that Britain was not a small island then but had a huge empire with lots of empire troops joining in the fight for it, not just British soldiers alone. That was the first time I heard about the empire.
I got the impression that many older teachers at school had no problem with embracing the idea of not teaching about the British Empire although they were less keen on the getting rid of rote learning, corporal punishment and other stuff.

Therefore I wonder if it is the baby boomers alone who were all for getting rid of the history of the empire?
I think other histories- like the history of Rome, teaching Latin, general British history were demolished by the baby boomers, but the Empire is something older people felt embarassed about too.

There seems to be a collective forgetting of history in all societies that have taken on modern Western ideas.
Here in Israel I notice there is near zero knowledge of history, in particular Jewish history in the secular population (apart from the Holocaust) while the Orthodox who go to a separate school system seem to know much more.



Elliott wrote:[As to whether the West can reclaim its heritage, this depends on all manner of things. I believe that the biggest block to it will be that the heritage will be literally alien to a huge number of people in the 21st century West....
... That may put me into racist territory but I think it is an obvious consequence of mass immigration. What connection can these children have to British figures even as recent as Churchill?

I think this is going to be - already is - a very real problem. It's like a bunch of guys in a room trying to talk about "the good old days", when half of their number only arrived yesterday: the conversation becomes meaningless, and offensive to the newcomers because it inherently excludes them. The solution will be auto-ghettoisation, or white flight, because it is the only way we can have our heritage un-self-consciously.

It's an excruciating situation which should never have come about, but the baby boomers insisted on it.....


You'ed think that all decendants of Afro-Carabean, Indian subcontinent would want to be taught about the Empire including positive things not connected to the slave trade - their countries were ruled by the British empire for years after slavery ended and then they still chose to keep the British legal system and infrastructure when independant.


Was mass immigration a baby boomer trend?
I don't think it is.
I thought large scale immigration started in 1948 with the Nationality act. Also Enoch Powell brought lots of Indian doctors and Afro Carrrabean nurses to the UK in the early 60's. Enoch Powell was not a baby boomer.
http://balisunset.hubpages.com/hub/A-Guide-to-Afro-Caribbean-Black-People-in-Britain
The politicians in the 50's and early 60's didn't seem to be that bothered about commonwealth immigration until the late 60's with Enoch Powells' speech when he suddenly changed his mind.

I was delivered by a black midwife who came from that generation of NHS immigrant workers. (My parents say she was brilliant, handled the birth all alone.) Perhaps it was the failure of the NHS to provide and train it's own workers that it needed to import people to work. I'm against the NHS as a state monopoly provider.
My parents were immigrants but they had huge difficulties in getting a right to residence and British passport. That is how it should be in my opinion.

I have 2 points:
First I think immigration is good if it is moderated.
For example if it is for working immigrants that do not claim benefits and have to jump a few hurdles (like my parents, or some of the earlier immigrants did.)
Secondly I think the crazy super huge mass immigration of the Blair years is Not a baby boomer thing. I think it is just a stupid Blair/Cameroon thing. They passed a lot of silly laws during that period.

Elliott wrote:...PS. Your comments on the evolution of TV and cinema seem to invite a new thread, so I haven't replied to them here. Suffice it to say I think you're right in a sense, even though my favourite TV shows are all from the 1970s.


Well I enjoy old TV and cinema. But yes this does need a new thread.


Sorry if I'm rambling here. I'm a bit knackered today.
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Elliott » 29 Jan 2012, 18:56

Rachel wrote:I remember in Junior school during the 1980's my teachers were quite old and were teaching since 1970 at least... I got the impression that many older teachers at school had no problem with embracing the idea of not teaching about the British Empire... Therefore I wonder if it is the baby boomers alone who were all for getting rid of the history of the empire? I think other histories- like the history of Rome, teaching Latin, general British history were demolished by the baby boomers, but the Empire is something older people felt embarassed about too.

This is why I emphasise that two things happened simultaneously:
  • Britain dismantled its Empire
  • the idea of having an empire became verboten

Because of the latter, I think Britain couldn't have got rid of its empire fast enough. I think it was probably like a pirate ship being stopped by naval police - the pirates desperately tossing their loot over the side before the police come aboard and see it.

It seems likely that WW2, especially the Holocaust (one people taking "possession" of another group of people), contributed to the feeling that imperialism was a grossly outmoded idea that could have no place in the 20th century. The world had to be drastically redesigned after WW2.

The point is, I agree that there was a pronounced anti-Empire movement in Britain (especially among the elite) before the Baby Boomers took over. It was not Baby Boomers who pilloried Enoch Powell. In particular, Ted Heath was not a Baby Boomer, and he not only pilloried Enoch Powell but took us into the EEC knowing it would cripple Britain as a world power. A trend was underway long before the Baby Boomers took over.

It seems to me that the Suez Crisis in the early 50s killed the British Empire stone cold. After that it was a corpse, and an unwelcome one. The BB's grew up with this assumption (that their birthright was both redundant and evil) and they grasped the baton and leaped forward with it enthusiastically. Their mandate was to erase what their parents and grandparents had achieved.

Here in Israel I notice there is near zero knowledge of history, in particular Jewish history in the secular population (apart from the Holocaust) while the Orthodox who go to a separate school system seem to know much more.
That's very interesting, but again, seems enough for its own thread! Personally I have no idea what to think about Israel, despite having been on a youth exchange trip there in 1998. I remember that the kids (15, 16) knew they were going to serve in the Israeli army in a few years and they had no compunction about taking up arms to defend their country. The same could not be said for British youth.

You'ed think that all decendants of Afro-Carabean, Indian subcontinent would want to be taught about the Empire including positive things not connected to the slave trade - their countries were ruled by the British empire for years after slavery ended and then they still chose to keep the British legal system and infrastructure when independant.
There seems to be a delay factor with this. First-generation immigrants were proud to be part of the Empire/Commonwealth/Britain, but their children (and especially grandchildren) feel culturally displaced, and hark back to what their grandparents left behind. This certainly seems to be the case with Muslim and black youth.

A similar "delay factor" is at play with the white natives of Britain (and I think America too). The Baby Boomers were happy to jettison the past. But now their children and grandchildren are wondering what it means to be British, and are curious about the very history that their parents had no interest in.

Regarding the black and Muslim youth harking back to their ancestral cultures, it may not be a delayed result of immigration, so much as a realisation that Britain is increasingly not confident of its own culture. Weakness is a provocation. In this case, immigrants are simply responding to an opportunity - essentially saying "if you're not going to compel us to be British, then we'll compel you to be Muslim".

The politicians in the 50's and early 60's didn't seem to be that bothered about commonwealth immigration until the late 60's with Enoch Powells' speech when he suddenly changed his mind.

It depends on those politicians' reasons for wanting immigration - and we can't know what those reasons were. They could have been:

  • Britain is bankrupt after WW2. We need new blood, people prepared to do the low-pay jobs that our natives don't want
  • Britain has a nasty Empire. Let's apologise to the people of the colonies by inviting them to live in Britain
  • Britain is a nasty, imperialist country. Let's destroy it (in its current form) by filling it with Third World immigrants

It could also be the case that they didn't know what effect their actions would have. Did they realise that the Nationality Act would eventually lead to this situation? I suspect not. This is the difference. The Baby Boomers (namely Tony Blair and his cronies) certainly did know the effect mass immigration would have, and was having, yet they increased it.

First I think immigration is good if it is moderated.

I think it depends on the immigrants in question. If they are from a place pretty similar to the country they're immigrating to, they will integrate much more easily and their presence will not cause much of a cultural impact. But if they're coming from a totally different place - say, Somalia - their immigrating is like a delayed trauma, for them (more so their children and grandchildren) and for the area they move to. We get things like the London 2011 riots, including incidents like this, in which a black gang forced a white man to strip so that they could have his clothes:

Image

Secondly I think the crazy super huge mass immigration of the Blair years is Not a baby boomer thing. I think it is just a stupid Blair/Cameroon thing. They passed a lot of silly laws during that period.
I think you contradict yourself there.

Blair is a Baby Boomer. So are all of the politicians from the 1990s/2000s, including the New Labour ones who advocated mass immigration and multiculturalism. The mass immigration of the 1990s onwards has been a Baby Boomer phenomenon.

They did what they did, not out of the blue, or for pragmatic reasons, but as part of a grand historical narrative, in which they believed their role was to undo the sins of their forefathers, namely white imperialism and the notion of Western supremacy. There is no tool more effective at neutering a population than altering it out of recognition, and that is what mass immigration is doing. Simultaneously, multiculturalism is neutering the culture of that (white) population.

I think these are very much Baby Boomer concerns, Baby Boomer desires.
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Rachel » 30 Jan 2012, 11:03

You made some good points there.
"weakness is a provocation."
How true.

Yes, you're right, I was wrong about it being just Bliar/Cameron. The mass immigration and multiculturalism of the 1990's was a baby boomer thing.
I think post 80's/90's was different to earlier immigration which was for more for practical manpower reasons...but I'm just speculating because I do not know the history either.
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Rachel » 04 Feb 2012, 17:39

Just for clarification: what does baby boomer mean?
I thought it meant anyone born inbetween 1940-65. That's also what Wilki says.
David Cameron was born in 1965 and Ed Miliband was born in late 69 - Do they fit into the baby boomer catergory?
Maybe I'm defining the years too narrowly. Maybe it's meant to define a state of mind. (?)
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Elliott » 04 Feb 2012, 22:36

Yes, I think those years are about right. Obviously it's not something that is clear-cut. We're talking about attitudes, after all!

But I do think it is possible to characterise generations, in a rough way. People will fit the stereotype to some extent, some to a great extent and some not at all.

Regarding Cameron and Miliband being born after the BB time... that's true, but I think their generation are in a sense even worse than the Baby Boomers. They still had the BB's ideas, and those still ideas hadn't been disproven yet, so in fact they believe them even more strongly than the BBs do. They lack a certain pragmatism that I think the BBs have and can be quite blindly ideological - I'm thinking of 30/40-something diversity coordinators and health&safety outreach officers. Those people aren't Baby Boomers - they're BB+.

Of course, we're talking very much in generalities.
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Caleb » 05 Feb 2012, 08:29

The Baby Boomers are essentially the generation born after WW2. The generation after is Generation X. Generation X is famous for being extremely cynical about everything.
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Elliott » 07 Mar 2012, 05:55

Don't look yet, but below is a photo of six male musicians. I would say that one of them is of the Baby Boomer generation whereas the others are younger, perhaps a generation or two below the BBs. However, I am trying to illustrate (as per the thread's title) the legacy of the Baby Boomers, which is that adolescent rebelliousness now extends well into middle age and beyond.

Ready for the photo?

Image

It's Morrissey! This shows him and his band onstage in Argentina.

Morrissey voiced support for the Argentine takeover of the Falklands.

Some people commented on the photo:

sonoftom wrote:I'm not a fan of the couple myself, but as a stunt this would look childish if they were all 17 - for a middle-aged bunch of musos it is ridiculous.


Tomm wrote:If I had worn that T shirt when I was 13 and in a schoolboy pop group and saw photographs of it 30 years later I'd cringe with embarrassment at my adolescent naivety and the personalising of a political issue with the moronic hate speech of the playground bully.

But these are (rather out of shape) middle aged men. Don't they realise they are not being controversial, they are just making a laughing stock of themselves.

They are running after a third rate dictatorial probably corrupt government in a fairly dreadful country


You can read the article here.

I think this is the way of things now. As generations successively weaned on rebelliousness reach middle-age, each will be more cringe-makingly embarrassing than the last! We just can't thole the idea of getting old anymore.
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Re: John Lennon and the Baby Boomers' Cultural Legacy

Postby Damo » 07 Mar 2012, 19:40

From the article in Elliott's link

The singer told a Colombian radio station last week that he was ignored by the British media because of his song material and bragged that he had never been offered a Brit award. "This proves that I am important," he said.


I think the man is just an attention seeker.
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